Effectively managing a remote marketing team

In a series of articles, we are looking at improving the productivity of your marketing in remote work situations, such as the current Covid-10 lock-down. In this installment, we will be looking at enabling the peak performance of your entire team.

If you haven’t yet, we strongly suggest you read these articles first:

What is and what isn’t productivity?

Google the term ‘productivity,’ and you’ll get dozens of highly technical descriptions like ‘efficiency of production,’ ‘generating more outcome with the same input,’ or ‘ratio of aggregate output to a single input.’

We prefer Chris Bailey’s description:

productivity means accomplishing what we intend to do.

If you intended to create a campaign ad that day, but instead, you responded to 1,000 unimportant emails, you were busy, but not productive.

When 2 + 2 = 3 (or 5)

Marketing is a creative industry. Some examples withstanding, the majority of marketers focus primarily on the quality of their work. Using the example above, publishing twenty ads that suck will bring much fewer results than publishing a great one!

To deliver that one killer ad, you have to have a team of super-performers working in their ‘flow’ (read more about that here). But you also have to make sure they are aligned. Otherwise, the results might still be underwhelming.

Further, using the ad example, you have a team working on launching the ad itself and a second team working on the landing page. Even though both groups do a great job, if the ad is launched before the landing page is fully completed, the campaign won’t live up to its full potential. Subsequently, your team’s motivation will very quickly go down the drain.

Yes, sometimes, you’ll have to sacrifice someone’s flow/productivity (ad-team waiting with launch until web-team finishes), but the payoff is much higher. Luckily, in marketing, we are continually working on multiple campaigns/projects. So you can easily have them turn their attention to other tasks at hand.

Project management tools to the rescue – some warning apply

Especially in remote work situations, where you don’t see each other, this task-switching may become very complicated. Team alignment drops, and people quickly lose track of what they should be working on.

That’s when project management tools can be a huge benefit. They can help you break projects and campaigns into individual tasks for every team member. Be careful, however, because as with every tool or weapon, it can quickly and easily turn against you. Especially be wary of the following:

  1. Unconnected tasks – one thing everyone hates is looking at a list of fifty tasks, that they have no idea why are essential. To a granular level of individual tasks, you have to be able to state, how doing this task will help the marketing team (and thus the company) reach the desired goals.
  2. Overambitious planning – writing a task into your PM software takes a minute. Executing it may take a lot longer. You may very quickly end up with the team-member looking at 14 hours of work crammed into an 8-hour workday. To minimize this, start writing time estimates for each task and confirming these with the assignees. Then make sure your team-members never have more work than the allocated time on the given day. Overambitious, undoable workloads are the fastest way to kill off quality and motivation.
  3. Lack of dependencies – some tasks have apparent dependencies (i.e., you can’t launch an ad without a designed image). But sometimes, things aren’t as clear (i.e., the example of landing page completed above). Use dependencies in project management tools to make specific tasks only start once the preceding ones finish. This way, with your helicopter view, you’ll minimize re-works and maximize results.
  4. Careful about task switching – Chris Bailey, the author of the bestseller ‘Hyperfocus,’ talks about the concept of Attentional space. Think of this space as you RAM, or active memory capacity you can use at any given moment. You use up this capacity for the actual task at hand, but also anything else around it. So if you’re required to change setup often (i.e., moving from Campaign X blogpost to Campaign Y social update), just making this switch may use up so much attentional space, that your productivity plummets. Ideally, stack together tasks connected to the same campaign (or tasks for various campaigns, but of the same type).
  5. Analyze the data – some people are overly optimistic in their time estimates, others repeatedly miss deadlines on tasks of the same type. When using PM software, use the available and abundant data and analyze everything. Turn this data into actionable insights that can help you plan campaigns more effectively.

To summarize, in a team of marketing super-performers, it’s your job as a CMO to ‘bring it home.’ By limiting the number of misunderstandings and misalignments, you make the difference between ? and ?! Do your job well, and your team will produce excellent results while feeling motivated and empowered.

At Oppido, we strive to empower you to do your job amazingly! With features such as the connection of tasks to goals, dependencies, and automatic movement of tasks, we support you to become ever more strategic and creative.Further resources:

Further reading:

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